IT professionals looking to become certified in a particular technology, and earn a healthy salary to boot, should focus on the cloud or cybersecurity, at least according to the latest information from educational technology company Skillsoft. Released on Thursday, Sept. 29, a new report looks at the 15 highest-paying IT certifications for 2022, citing such roles as AWS Certified Solutions Architect, Certified Information Security Manager, Google Cloud Architect and Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

SEE: AWS Solution Architect Certification Training Bundle (TechRepublic Academy)

The hottest topics in IT certifications

Based on a survey of more than 2,500 IT pros in the U.S., the list reveals the highest salaries reported in the tech field and serves as a handy FYI for employers and employees alike. Your ability to command one of these top salaries requires more than just being certified. Achieving this financial success also depends on your job role, professional development, experience and hard work. But, the list does provide helpful guidance on where you might want to focus your tech career.

The focus on cybersecurity and cloud certifications confirms the trend seen in the 2021 report in which the same two areas commanded the top salaries. The 2022 list also provides details on the typical professional who holds each certification, including their average total number of certifications, whether they hold cybersecurity-related certifications, whether they’re in management and their average age.

“This year’s list is notable first by what topics continue to be hot this year—cloud foremost, supplemented by a couple of key certifications in cybersecurity and data,” stated Michael Yoo, customer market leader at Skillsoft, in the company’s blog post about these findings. “Not surprising, given how nearly every company in every industry of every size in every geography is relying upon cloud computing to power their technology strategy.”

The highest-paying tech certifications

1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional

At the top of the list is AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional with a salary of $168,080. In this role, you design, deploy and support complex Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure. For you to achieve this type of certification, AWS recommends two or more years of hands-on experience with a scripting language as well as skills in Windows, Linux and various AWS services.

2. Certified Information Security Manager

Coming in second is CISM, or Certified Information Security Manager, with a salary of $162,347. In this role, you manage, design and assess an enterprise’s information security. To be certified, you should have a certain level of expertise in information security governance, information security risk management, information security program and incident management. Before taking the exam, you need at least five years of professional experience in several specific domains.

3. Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect

In third place is Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect, earning a salary of $161,371. To obtain this type of credential, you should be able to manage the implementation of Google Cloud services as well as set up the infrastructure and improve processes. Those trying to earn this certification should also have at least three years of experience with at least one year of designing and managing solutions in Google Cloud.

4. Certified Information Systems Security Professional

The fourth spot goes to CISSP, or Certified Information Systems Security Professional, with a salary of $158,190. This certification is like earning a master’s degree in IT security, according to Skillsoft, as it measures your ability to design, implement and manage a cybersecurity program. To achieve this, you’ll need at least five years of relevant work experience in two or more of the CISSP domains, such as security and risk management, security architecture and engineering, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, and software development security.

5. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate

In the fifth spot is AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate, earning a salary of $155,019. A prerequisite for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional credential, this certification is designed for cloud architects with experience designing fault-tolerant and cost-efficient systems on AWS. Those looking to obtain this one should be familiar with the AWS Well-Architected Framework and at least know the basics of programming; deep coding experience isn’t necessary.

6. AWS Certified Security Specialty

Next on the list is AWS Certified Security Specialty with a salary of $149,740. This one measures your ability to secure data in the AWS cloud and deal with challenging security issues. For this certification, you should have at least five years of experience in an IT security role, with two of those years focused on securing AWS workloads. Further, you should be familiar with AWS security services, logging and monitoring strategies, cloud security threat models, and security operations and risks.

7. Project Management Professional

In seventh place is PMP, or Project Management Professional, earning a salary of $148,290. Project managers help define, organize and handle projects from start to finish. To achieve this certification, you must have a four-year college degree, three years of experience leading projects, and either 35 hours of project management education or a CAPM certification. Those with a high school diploma should have at least five years of experience in addition to the project management education or CAPM certification.

8. Nutanix Certified Professional—Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI)

The eighth spot goes to Nutanix Certified Professional—Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI) with a salary of $147,169. This certification gauges your skills at deploying, administering and troubleshooting Nutanix AOS 5.20 nodes, blocks and clusters in the Enterprise Cloud, including your ability to use Prism Element to manage AHV hosts and virtual machines.

9. Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert

In ninth place is Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert, earning a salary of $142,975. For this IT certification, you should have advanced experience designing cloud and hybrid solutions on Microsoft Azure. Microsoft also recommends a level of expertise in Azure administration and development, DevOps, networking, virtualization, security and governance.

10. Google Cloud—Cloud Digital Leader

And in the tenth spot is Google Cloud—Cloud Digital Leader, taking home a salary of $142,707. To achieve this tech certification, you should have working knowledge of Google’s cloud platform and services to support an organization’s cloud-based initiatives. You should also be familiar with such areas as digital transformation with Google Cloud, infrastructure and application modernization, innovating with data and Google Cloud, and Google Cloud security and operations.

Remaining top tech certifications

Rounding up the top 15 are CISA—Certified Information Systems Auditor with a salary of $142,336, AWS Certified Big Data—Specialty with an annual pay of $138,403, VMware Certified Professional—Data Center Virtualization (VCP-DCV) with a salary of $138,349, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner with an annual rate of $135,612, and CCNP Enterprise with a salary of $133,568.

If you’re a hiring manager of IT pros, these TechRepublic Premium hiring kits are helpful resources: Cloud Engineer, Data Scientist, Cybersecurity Engineer and Project Manager. These hiring kits include customizable job descriptions, interview questions and want ads.

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